Barbara Collins Ward Gardner, of Beckley, West Virginia, passed peacefully in her sleep on the morning of August 31, 2021 at the age of 83 after a long illness.
Barbara was born on February 3, 1938 to Virginia Cecil Hern and John Collins Ward. She married Robert Tennant Gardner, lovingly known as “Dr. Bob,” on June 16, 1962 after she graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1960. Bob and Barbara had two children, Robert (R.T.) Tennant Gardner II and Jennifer (Jenkie) Collins Ward Gardner.
Barbara was a pillar in her community as a member of Beckley Presbyterian Church, Chairman of the Beckley Beautification Commission, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, President of the Briarcliff Garden Club and the Raleigh County Garden Club, an Honorary Life Member of the West Virginia State Garden Club, President of the Beckley Appalachian Region Hospital Auxiliary, and a member of the Women’s Club of Beckley.
Professionally, Barbara served as a Social Worker and a licensed insurance agent. She was named West Virginia Agent of the Year in 1986.
During her free time, Barbara enjoyed traveling, playing golf and bridge, but more than anything she loved the Kentucky Wildcats and college basketball. For many years she told her five grandchildren that she would support them wherever they went to school, but that she would be particularly proud if they attended the University of Kentucky.
Barbara loved her family fiercely and was always proud of their accomplishments. On any given day her conversations revolved around her love for her children and grandchildren.
Barbara is survived by her loving husband Bob, her two children, R.T. and Jenkie, her daughter-in-law, Julie Gardner, her son-in-law Brian Thomas Atkinson, and her five grandchildren, Robert Tennant Gardner III, Mary Collins Ward Atkinson, William King Atkinson, Gardner McLean Atkinson, and Elizabeth (Ellie) Reynolds Gardner, all of Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as numerous friends and loved ones.
A visitation will be held at Beckley Presbyterian Church at 1pm on Tuesday, September 7th, followed by a funeral service at 2pm. A grave-side service will be held immediately afterward at Sunset Memorial Park, followed by a celebration of Barbara’s life at her home.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to either Beckley Presbyterian Church, Bowers Hospice House, or The Villages at Greystone.
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